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Revisiting the anasynthetic spiral

Authors: Haspelmath; Martin;

Revisiting the anasynthetic spiral

Abstract

AbstractGrammaticalization is nowadays often seen primarily as a kind of semantic-pragmatic change, but in the 19th century it was more typically seen in a holistic typological perspective: the idea was that synthetic languages develop from analytic languages, and that they may become analytic again. This kind of development is indeed occasionally observed in entire languages, as in the Romance languages and in Later Egyptian, but it is quite unclear whether such holistic changes are at all common. Similarly, there seems to be no good evidence that changes from agglutinative patterns to isolating patterns go through an intermediate flective or fusional stage. By contrast, there is abundant evidence for the old observation that older tightly bound constructions often face competition from new constructions based on content items, which may eventually replace the older patterns (I call this kind of process ‘anasynthesis’). Such anasynthetic changes are driven by inflationary processes that can be observed elsewhere in language and culture, not by therapeutic motivations.

Related Organizations
Keywords

grammaticalization, language typology, synthetic language

74 references, page 1 of 8

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Bisang, Walter. 2004. Grammaticalization without coevolution of form and meaning: The case of tense-aspect-modality in East and mainland Southeast Asia. In: Walter Bisang, Nikolaus P. Himmelmann, Björn Wiemer (eds.), What makes grammaticalization? - a look from its fringes and its components, 109-138. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Bopp, Franz. 1816. Uber das Conjugationssystem der Sanskritsprache. Frankfurt am Main: Andreäischen.

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Dahl, Östen. 2001. Inflationary effects in language and elsewhere. In Joan L. Bybee & Paul J. Hopper (eds.), Frequency and the emergence of linguistic structure, 471-480. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Dahl, Östen. 2004. The growth and maintenance of linguistic complexity. Amsterdam: Benjamins. [OpenAIRE]

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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
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